I found the dog lying almost dead near the path. A crossbow arrow, a type not used by the villagers, had silenced him. Somebody was after me, and apparently wanted the bounty all for himself. legenday

My instincts told me to slowly back away and move toward the denser part of the forest, but just as I took a step, I felt a pinch. It didn’t feel at all like an arrow, but sure enough, there was an arrow through my side with its feathers sticking out near my naval and the tip protruding from my back. I immediately dove into the bushes before another arrow could find its mark, convinced that only one assailant was involved. If there would have been more than one, an avalanche of arrows would have found their mark. It must be a solitary bounty hunter, just as I had thought. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first arrow to violate this body; I was used to it, so I rolled into the forest, broke off the feathers, reached behind and pulled it out. lgdsilicone

I felt nothing. I never did in battle. My anger overrode any other feelings and masked any pain that I might otherwise feel. The only thing I felt was “sorry” for the one who shot me – because he was a dead man.

I sat there not moving or breathing. With blood running down my leg, I listened for a telltale sound. And there it was; a rustling sound, unnoticeable to an untrained ear. I silently circled, quiet as a stalking cat until I came up behind a robed man hiding in a bamboo thicket. He turned in alarm and put up his hands. rajafantasy

“Please don’t harm me. I saw the one who shot you – a warrior from Ayatana. When he saw you pull the arrow from your side, he became afraid and ran off.”

He then became silent and looked at me with pleading eyes.

He was definitely a key seeker; at least he wore the robe, and a clay pot lay next to him.

“I am Moosawa,” he said, smiling thinly, and then he invited me to sit down, and offered to look at my injury when we both heard somebody running toward us.

“He leaves me for only a few moments and look what happens,” a John said breathlessly, as he inspected the damage. yateartificialgrass

“My name is Moosawa,” said the key seeker, introducing himself and bowing to a John. “A warrior has shot your friend, but the assailant has fled.”

A John looked at the wound and asked me if it was serious.

“I have had worse,” I replied.

“We are fortunate that you were so near,” a John said to Moosawa. “You are welcome to join us if you wish.”

“Oh, if only I could,” Moosawa replied, “I am sure it would be delightful; however I am expected in the community of key seekers by next week, as I have some important duties to perform, so I must be on my way right now, actually, unless I can help you with this wounded key seeker.”

“Well, then thank you my friend,” said A John, “but we can manage. We will be journeying to the community before the rains as well, and perhaps we will meet again.” autoperformancepartsdirect

“Of course,” said Moosawa, “I was just fortunate to be in the area and witness the attempt on this poor man’s life. It is none of my business why someone would want to harm him, and I would be better off not knowing, I’m sure, so I will continue on my journey and will perhaps see you during the monsoon.” With this, the key seeker bowed and walked hurriedly down the path.

A John shook his head, looked at me and said, “You are certainly full of surprises! Let’s take care of that wound.”

The village doctor had a great time for a few weeks, visiting a John and me once a day in the forest to treat my wound, and in return always receiving a few words of wisdom from a John for his kindness. Every morning, a John would take both of our pots into the village and return with my meal, taking care of me as he would a brother.

One day, after I was feeling better, I asked a John to tell me more about the “self.”

“When you study the self, with the help of your inner work,” a John began, “you will slowly and intimately become familiar with this self’. Once you become familiar with the self, you will then someday be able to forget the self, and when you forget all about the self, you will be very close to finding your key. Now, do you want to learn about this self through your own experience, or will you take my word for it?” gambleonlineblog

What did he mean by that? I was confused. I had assumed that I knew all about myself (Look! Here I am! I’m a key seeker!), and never really looked into it, so I said, “I would rather find out for myself.”

“Excellent!” A John wholeheartedly agreed. “Never believe anything you cannot prove true for yourself. So, to learn about your self’ and determine if you are real, where do you begin? You must begin by inquiring deep inside and investigating this body and mind to see if it is real, but since your mind is what you will be using to investigate itself, it won’t be completely honest with you. Your mind will be like a fox guarding the hen house; you can’t trust it, and the results of the investigation will be flawed and inconclusive.” bbcforbes

“But my mind is all I have to work with. What do I do now?” I asked with a puzzled look.

“What can you do to investigate this matter?” He prodded. “It is very important, you know. Is the king real or not? Who or what is this self? What is the answer? The answer is to go to the Source! Once your mind touches Reality, your mind will become honest and tell the truth so you can believe the results of the investigation. So, the next question is: how do we touch this Source with our mind?”

Wait a minute. How did he know that I was a King? I had to admit I was lost. Everything was mixed up. I had no choice but to follow my heart and my heart said to trust this little man. He was my only hope.

“It is extraordinarily easy to touch the Source,” he exclaimed, “we simply calm the mind with the help of the inner work so that the Source can surface. The Source is inside all of us, right here (a John pointed to his heart). It is not hovering in the sky or sitting in the heavens. It is very close, and simply needs encouragement to make itself known; it needs some support so that it knows we are thinking of more than ourselves for a moment. When we receive a present, it must be unwrapped – it must be opened to see what is inside. Similarly, with the assistance of the inner work, we must open our minds so that the Source can, likewise, make its presence known.”

“How do I open my mind?” I asked, but before a John could answer, we were surprised by a villager emerging from the bush.

“Please excuse me, a John,” she said, “but soldiers are camped not far from here. We are watching them and will alert you if they come closer.”

After a John thanked the woman, he turned to me and said, “It is time for us to leave this part of the forest. After we make our rounds in the village tomorrow, we will travel to a safer area.”

The next morning, we discussed our plight after our meal. “Listen carefully,” said a John, “the reason we are leaving is because we choose to protect ourselves, and protect the villagers as well from unnecessary danger. This can be a lesson, for this is what we constantly do in life; make choices. Life is a battle to ease our invariable dissatisfactions, whether these dissatisfactions are affecting us now or whether they are perceived as causing us difficulty in the future, and for this reason we are constantly trying to resolve this dissatisfaction by making choices.

“We could say that our entire life is spent making choices, desperately trying to be happy as we choose between doing this or doing that, eating this or eating that, going here or going there. This is our life: continuous, endless choices. When we practice the inner work and observe our mind, we see how these pervasive choices create conflict, which in turn creates confusion and stress. Should I do this or should I do that?